I take comfort in the strangest of things. Things that terrify people, send men running for the hills, choke and sicken regular folks.

I take comfort in second hand smoke

In the 90’s my family would have holidays at my grandma’s house. The kitchen was for the grown ups, the living room for the kids, and the basement for the teenagers. I was about 12, on the cusp. My cousins and siblings were about 16 and 17. They all took their meals downstairs to the basement, lit up cigarettes, ate, and cussed. I didn’t really have a section in the house, I didn’t want to eat with the babies, so I hovered around the cool kids in the basement. I remember walking downstairs was like walking into a grey cloud of tobacco smoke. It was thick. You couldn’t see straight through it. It smelled glorious. Rich. Cool.

Today when all my friends bat away the smokers’ cloud on the way inside the bar I pause for a moment and take a deep breath and picture a hazy basement. Near the back I see a single light bulb hovering above a round table. Loud teenagers sit around in old, lime green chairs. Silhouettes of the cool kids with little orange cherries glowing at the ends of their arms. I can hear laughter and F-bombs dropping left and right.

I take comfort in heavy metal music

My favorite thing I owned in the whole entire world was a Samsung 5.1 surround sound system that a friend gave me in college. I could own nothing but those speakers and still be happy. A lot of people love heavy metal, but my application is unusual. When I was stressed out, when I hated my job, when I hated my life, when anything weighed heavily on me, I would put on Slipknot, turn it up loud, and sink into my couch. The thundering double bass, the screaming vocals, the distorted guitar riffs, I soaked it all in. The sound waves were like little pillows bumping against me. I sat engulfed in it, like a little piece of fruit inside a jiggly cup of jello, listening to the pandemonium. And I smiled.

I take comfort in single moms

“You and the baby mommas,” a friend said to me. “They come to me! What am I supposed to do?” I said. It’s true and it’s not. Sure, single moms do seem to like me. But I think it’s because I have a soft spot for them. I don’t just like single moms for being single moms; but good single moms. The single moms that when I ask them their plans tomorrow, and then I see the look they give me, slightly anxious like please don’t run away from me when she says, “But I have the baby.” And I know she isn’t trying to dump her baby on someone else for the night. Or go out and get drunk when she has a responsibility as a mom. And I’m enchanted. I’m fucking enchanted by her momness. She wants to be a good mom. And she’s beautiful. Just like that.

I’ll never forget, I went to see a single mom and honestly I just thought she was a hot mom I was going to bang. A dumb one, too, for getting knocked up so young and with someone who turned out to be a crazy person. But then I got to her house and I saw her be a mom. And it all came crumbling. My game. My cavalier attitude to using and leaving her. She put the kid to bed and we curled up on the couch together with a pack of Oreos and watched TV.

I take comfort in dependence

“Who’s the bitch? I’ll kill her.” Music to my ears. How nice would it be for someone to want me so badly? How neat would it be to be so crucial for someone’s survival? So paramount to their happiness? How lovely would it be for an ex to appear out of nowhere and beat the shit out of my new date screaming, “He’s my man! He’s my man!” It would make me feel pretty special. Important. I’ve heard it suggested. But so far it’s all talk. Everyone is dispensable. Everyone moves on. Including me.

I take comfort in drug addicts

The erratic behavior someone displays after taking a bump, or a hit of whatever, is endearing to me. The tweak, the speed, the haste. The flowing of “brilliant” ideas. The urge to constantly get something off their chest. The “I love you, man’s.” The need to GET SHIT DONE. RIGHT NOW. I love it. I’m not afraid of their wild temperament. I don’t get angry at their helpless and suicidal confessions. I love them more for it.

Drugs feel like home. I grew up with them. My family found out I knew how to do math and vowed that I would be sheltered forever. So they lied to me. Every day. About everything. They had good intentions. But I know right away, to this day, when someone has had a hit of something. I know before most people. And I feel at home.

Some in my family feared I would be a wasted talent; another addict squandering my gifts. Luckily I never took to addiction. I actually enjoy my gifts. I enjoy sitting here in front of the keyboard typing random thoughts for you to gawk at and think, “what the fuck?” But I know I’m not a special snowflake.

I know someone somewhere will read this and think, “Holy shit. Me too, dude. Me too…”

If you enjoy my musings on life and relationships make sure you check out my novel, Hang-Ups and Hangovers. Buy now.

About the Author Kyle Milligan

I'm Kyle Milligan, I write New Adult Books that don't suck. i.e. The Hang-Ups and Hangovers series. I like to write about the challenges of being a single twenty-something in today's hookup culture. My blog offers Dating Advice For Men.

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